Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mid-Point Reflection

Revised Essential Question:

How can school media personnel employ technology in the media center to facilitate student development of lifelong learning skills?

After discussing my original EQ (from August 21, 2013) with classmates, I narrowed the question a bit to the above. So far, LIS 635 has answered this question in two ways. First practically, and second theoretically.

Jing

from TechSmith’s page on Jing.

Practically speaking, I am learning a variety of new sites and apps that I can use in the media center to teach students and to encourage their learning. My favorite so far is Jing. I can use it to teach students to use various Web sites and other computer-related activities, such as using an online catalog. If the library had a website or blog accessible from outside the school, students could access tutorials from home if they needed help on, say, using Microsoft Word. Since Jing isn’t especially complicated, older students could probably also learn to use Jing, allowing them to “teach” their fellow students (such as having older students create a tutorial on using the online catalog). Playing with WordPress to create visually interesting and informative blog posts also lays the groundwork for creating a library blog.

my iPod Classic and dumphone, as of Sept. 30, 2013

my iPod Classic and dumphone, as of Sept. 30, 2013

On a less practical, more theoretical side, LIS 635 is encouraging me to step outside the box with technology. I’m not very technology-driven. New technology doesn’t scare me; it just doesn’t usually pique my interest. “New versions” of things (for instance, the iPad Touch) don’t make much of an impression of the version I have (in this case, the iPod Classic) fills the need. In consequence, I tend to be rather behind in my technology (I still like my dumbphone, for instance). Learning about a variety of unusual, non-phone sites and apps has piqued my interest in learning more about using them and finding others that work in other ways, partly out of curiosity and partly because my ideas on technology’s uses in the library are expanding.

So I suppose one of the ways school media personnel can employ technology in the media center to facilitate student development of lifelong learning skills is to demonstrate said lifelong learning skills by continuing to learn new technology.

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Amy & Savannah’s Learni.st Board & Tutorial

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 5.14.41 PMSavannah & I chose Learni.st as our curation tool. Although we were happy with our final product, we experienced quite a few glitches that made the process rather frustrating. Besides trouble logging in and the site going down for maintenance,  Learni.st refused to delete postson several occasions. This made editing the list a bit hit or miss. The final product does look nice. Since we wanted to create a list with a definite “beginning to end” order, we really appreciated being able to order the “Learnings” as we saw fit (as opposed to Pinterest, which leaves them in the order of pinning). Learning to use Learni.st was also easier than expected. The construction of the site makes what to click on to achieve different results fairly clear, especially since there are few “icons” to click (just “edit” and changing the list order). I’ve linked our Learni.st curation board on the right via the screenshot (since Learni.st doesn’t appear to have an embed feature, which makes sharing it on a blog more complicated).

Here’s our Learnist Tutorial, created via Jing and shared via Screencast. We’re quite proud of it. We’re also quite proud of the fact that after much trial and error we persuaded it to work as a hyperlink. Although we were hoping to embed. But that didn’t work, so we’re just going with the hyperlink for now. If anyone else has more success and manages to embed their video as a video (instead of as a link), we would love to know.

For the most part, Jing and Screencast were fairly easy to learn and use. After two attempts, we felt fairly comfortable with using Jing, and our subsequent “drafts” of the final recording focused on getting our wording and timing right. When we did have trouble (namely in sharing the tutorial), we found help easily enough on the Screencast website.

On the whole, I would use all of these tools again, especially Jing and Screencast. Learni.st needs some improvement, but the site and list is functional and offers a little more freedom than Pinterest. Jing and Screencast work well together (they should, seeing as they’re both by TechSmith and appear to be intended to work together). I look forward to learning more about using Jing and sharing the videos.

Presentation Correction (10/2/13):

I misspoke during our presentation– we used the Apple “Grab” command (command + shift +4) with a hyperlink to pseudo-embed our Learni.st curation, not our Learni.st tutorial. Our Leani.st tutorial is just hyperlinked. For an example of of the Apple “Grab” used on the Learni.st tutorial, see Gabriel’s blog (10/1/13).

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Effective Performance- Anjelah Johnson’s “Family Oriented”

Anjelah Johnson’s performance always amuses me. Her facial expressions and tone of voice are part of it. “Freeze” the video every once and a while, and you can really see just how funny her expressions are. Her facial expressions are exaggerated, but they fit the situation. In contrast, her tone is so matter-of-fact, and for some reason, straight-faced humor always seems to have its special brand of “funny.” She uses pauses and facial expressions to indicate when her audience should laugh as well. She uses her accent and tone effectively to accentuate the funny moments, as when she emphasizes her accent to emphasize the dialogue in a situation.

She also pokes fun at recognizable situations for her audience. Most Americans are probably familiar with the “broken window” scene, or have wanted to spank someone else’s misbehaving kid. Since her audience is familiar with these situations, they can identify with the humor in the situation. Despite the accents, the family interactions she portrays are relatable.

This particular segment of a performance especially relies on her ability to deal comically with cultural stereotypes. Since she’s part of the culture she’s poking fun at, she’s “allowed” to poke fun- it’s the “I can tease my brother, but you can’t” idea. By including them in her comic performance, Anjelah Johnson “permits” her audience to laugh at the stereotypes, while simultaneously breaking down the stereotypes through exaggeration and identification. She exaggerates the stereotypes, making them both amusing and a bit ridiculous (and therefore less believable as everyday ideas). Using familiar situations also identifies the culture being stereotyped with her audience’s culture. As mentioned above, her audience can relate to the family interactions. Johnson can deal comically with the stereotypes because of her personal situation- since she’s Mexican herself, she can avoid the immediate backlash reaction of “she just raised a stereotype!” by reminding her audience that she has personal experience with both the stereotyped culture and the stereotypes. She blends all of these elements- “performance” aspects, choice of topics, and personal traits- to create an amusing, but potentially thought-provoking performance.

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Mini-Curations

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 4.14.54 PM
My Padlet mini-curation is rather small, mainly because I chose a narrow category in which to insert the tech terms we came up with. I spent the previous two semesters on a senior thesis, so these tools are still fresh on my mind. I chose Learni.st initially because I thought I might include a variety of formats besides just screenshots. YouTube videos in particular seemed a likely possibility. I like Learni.st as a teaching tool because it has that variety. It was also fairly easy to navigate and use. One disadvantage for a larger collection might be the apparent inability to create sub-categories in a board. Of course, it’s possible that I just haven’t found that feature, but overall, the features of the board seem limited, even though I could post a variety. Learni.st’s main advantage was the ease of navigating my own board and adding to it.

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 4.15.19 PM

I created my second mini-curation on Pinterest. This Tolkien-Inspired board had a much broader category, so I found it easier to add interesting pins. Pinterest has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as Learni.st, although I find Pinterest easier to navigate since I’ve been using it for a month longer than Learni.st. One of the main differences between the two seems to be the connotation. I think of Pinterest as a personal or social curation tool, while Learni.st strikes me as more “professional.” If I hadn’t played with the two myself trying to get similar results, I would probably take Learni.st more seriously because it looks and sounds less outright “social.” Having compared them though, I might actually be more inclined to use Pinterest as a learning tool because it’s more social. I had never heard of Learni.st before this class. Pinterest, however, is quite popular, so it might reach a broader audience, so if “professional” isn’t a primary need, Pinterest would probably be a better option.

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Infographic for the Average School Library in 2012

An original creation, based on the 2012 ALA School Libraries Count!: National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Programs

In the above creation, I have condensed a portion of a graph from the ALA School Libraries Count!: National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Programs into an infographic. I chose easel.ly as my infographic construction site primarily because easel.ly offered more options for creativity than infogr.am. I found the above current data rather interesting, particularly the average copyright date for school library collection. Consequently, I made the copyright data stand out. The original graph in the ALA report was longitudinal, covering 2008-2012. For this infographic, I was only interested in one year, which eliminated the need for a graph. However, I still wanted to emphasize the differences in number between types of material, which I could accomplish by accompanying the data with shapes.

To make the infographic more interesting, I added images of the types in question. Not wanting to deal with copyright issues, I chose to create my own (minimal) graphics using the shapes available from easel.ly. Since I prefer simple infographics anyway, the minimal approach works for me. Moreover, as my professor pointed out, if I ever need to create an infographic for my own school library, creating my own graphic (instead of using a copyrighted one) makes the process easier on me. I confess, I chose the colors primarily because I liked them, although with the textual information I did choose a darker shade on the grey-scale to add emphasis. The color in the book graphic also makes the books stand out from the overall color-scheme. Unfortunately, the periodical and audio data-shapes were too small for an accompanying graphic to do anything but overwhelm the data (or be too small to serve any purpose).

So here’s my first attempt at an infographic. Feedback would be much appreciated.

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Infographics- Gandalf Problem Solving

from the LOTRProject blog, January 9, 2013

from the LOTRProject blog, January 9, 2013

I probably find the Gandalf Problem Solving infographic so compelling because I’m mildly obsessed with The Lord of the Rings. Since I’m highly familiar with the plots and characters of the movies and books for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I can fill in the details of each step in the decision-making process. As an English major, I can also trace out the plots of both story arcs through this chart.  Since Gandalf is one of the driving forces of both story arcs (he is, after all, the catalyst for the involvement of the hobbits), the chart summarizes both arcs fairly accurately. If I were explaining the plot to a friend, this could actually be a useful tool.

The chart also captures Gandalf’s character. It captures both his “magical” or mythological aspects (“Does magic work?”, “Call the eagles!”, and “Resurrect”) and his more practical side (“Can someone else deal with it?” and “Are swords of use here?”). Even the syntax of the phrasings (“Proceed to find a suitable Hobbit!” or “Are swords of use here?”) recalls the epic nature of the stories themselves. “Good!” is also one of the typical Gandalf responses.

The presentation of the information is very simple, primarily black and white, with words only. The simplicity of the infographic works very well for someone highly familiar with the Gandalf character (even if only from The Lord of the Rings and not The Hobbit). A viewer who already has experience with Gandalf  “personalizes” their own journey through the decision-making by recollecting the various instances that back up the steps. Since most of the steps have multiple applications, the possible combinations of mental pictures or movie clips vary.

However, the infographic would be much less helpful for someone unfamiliar with the Gandalf character. Terms like “Middle-Earth” and “Hobbit” would lack the context necessary to understand the decision-making process. Although the viewer may still recognize that the infographic deals with fantasy, the medium (literature, film, game, etc.) and even which story the character derives from is much less obvious. Pictures from the movies or from artwork based on the books could clarify some of the potential confusion, but the infographic has none of that. In consequence, unless the viewer has the necessary background knowledge, the infographic is neither particularly informative nor particularly funny.

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